Romana Echensperger

"Dry" is a stretchable term

Why Mosel Riesling does not fit into any drawer. Recently, a courageous winemaker from the Mosel called me, because I had put their Riesling Kabinett in a tasting with sweet wines like Spätlese or auslese. "A Kabinett is perhaps fruity but not sweet," she said, and she was right. Since the category "dry", which describes wines up to 9 g / l residual sugar, is for Mosel Riesling obsolete....

My Israel

Those who land at the airport in Tel Aviv are the first to hear the voices in endless languages. Whether in Spanish, Russian, Hebrew, Polish, Arabic, German, or English – in the long and brightly polished corridors one can be hear almost every language of the world. In long rows one stands then together before the passport control and looks impatiently to the right and left past his fellow travellers. If you already know the country, you can...

IWSP New Zealand

Wine from the land of the hobbits Ever since the fantasy epic "Lord of the Rings" inspired millions of cineastes, the rugged and mystical landscape of New Zealand has become famous worldwide. The two islands in the southern Pacific have become a popular tourist destination ever since. But not just friends of nature and Hobbit fans love New Zealand. When, in 1985, a crazily aromatic Sauvignon Blanc entered the world wine stage with Cloud...

IWSP Bordeaux

Bordeaux is always a good idea. Whoever hears the word "Bordeaux" thinks first of all about fantastic red wines and a wine style that has so much charisma that winegrowers from China to California and from Australia to Germany orient themselves to it. Bordeaux is also an exciting destination. The region of Aquitaine is blessed with superlative advantages....
Alsace – time for a revival – Sommelier Guild

Alsace – time for a revival – Sommelier Guild

Wine is definitely a subject to fashion sense, too. Alsace is reminiscent of a 1970s’ lampshade you had forgotten for years in the attic but now you bring it up again with enthusiasm and dust it off.  When you start to grapple with Alsace, maybe you are like me, first consulting one of the hundreds of wine books that all of us have collected over the years working in the wine business. But the information on Alsace is quite limited. Jan...

Soil and climate

Heterogeneity is the central issue that makes the essence of Alsace difficult to grasp. It starts with the huge diversity of terroir. Alsace is a long strip of around 100 kilometers and is divided in Bas-Rhin and Haut-Rhin. Its macroclimate is influenced by the Vosges mountain range, which holds all clouds coming from the west making the region as dry as parts of Southern France. While the Bas-Rhin is less protected, due to the mountain range ...
Viticulture and grape varieties

Viticulture and grape varieties

Like everywhere else, Alsace had its troubles with viticulture in the 1960s and 1970s with too many pesticides and fertilizers, producing thin wines without soul and leaving dead soil in the vineyard. Since the 1990s growers in general have returned to more organic methods for different reasons. One was a more critical approach by consumers towards chemicals and the influence. Another was the strong “green” movement just across the border ...
Wine style and regional identity

Wine style and regional identity

Terroir is only one factor that influences the wine style in Alsace. As important as that and especially in Alsace is what kind of philosophy and personality the wine grower has. In Alsace the names of the growers are well-known and the fame is not necessarily connected with the region. You drink Riesling Clos St. Hune from Trimbach but are you thinking about Alsace as you sip from your glass? The reason is that Alsace is characterised by very...

Tradition doesn’t mean sweet

The impression that it is an Alsatian tradition to produce wines with residual sugar isn’t helpful for the regional image. Over the past decades, wine styles have become unpredictable, one of the biggest criticisms that can be levelled against Alsatian wines. Will the wine be dry, off-dry, semi-sweet, or sweet? One cannot tell when looking at the label and the efforts to put a scale on the label which shows the sweetness levels have to be co...

The Grand Cru System

As Olivier Humbrecht explains, Grand Cru wines in Alsace represent only 4% of the total production. As of 2007, when the single vineyard Kaefferkopf was added to the list, 51 Grand Cru vineyards have existed in Alsace. The concept of Grand Cru is relatively young, it started in 1975 when the first Grand Cru vineyard was classified, continued in 1983 with a list of 25 Grand Cru hillsides, followed by another 25 vineyards classified in 1985. The...